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DOCUMENTS 

THE CHICAGO TREATY OF 1833 
With Introduction and Notes by Milo M. Quaife 

The Chicago Treaty of 1833, with the negotiating of 
which the following documents deal, was an event of con- 
siderable importance, particularly in the history of Illinois 
and Wisconsin. From the first advent of the white man in 
this region the Potawatomi tribe of Indians had made its 
home in some portion of the territory adjacent to Lake Michi- 
gan. By the Chicago Treaty of 1833 the Potawatomi 
and allied tribes, the Chippewa and Ottawa, at length agreed 
definitely to leave this region and find a new home beyond 
the Mississippi. To the whites was surrendered their title to 
some 5,000,000 acres of fertile land in northern Illinois and 
southern Wisconsin, embracing the tract between Lake Michi- 
gan and Rock River and extending northward from an east 
and west line drawn through the southernmost point of 
Lake Michigan. 

The circumstances attending the negotiation of the treaty 
were typical, probably, of those of Indian treaties generally 
in the first half of the nineteenth century. Yet two or three 
facts give to this treaty a somewhat special degree of interest. 
One is that we have left to us fuller and better descriptions 
of the negotiation of the treaty than is commonly the case. 
Another and more important one is that a larger sum of 
money was distributed in the form of gratuities more or less 
disguised, to facilitate the conduct of the negotiations. It 
is with this phase of the subject that the documents here 
presented deal. So far as known, no student of American 
history has ever seriously set himself the task of illuminat- 
ing the subject of the process whereby the American govern- 
ment secured from the red man, in successive treaties, title 



288 Documents 

to the greater portion of the land of continental United 
States. 1 A comprehensive study of this subject would reveal 
much of interest and value; it would be certain, too, to dis- 
close much of a nature far from flattering to the American 
government and nation. That the Chicago Treaty of 1833 
would afford some material of this sort for the construction 
of the narrative, it requires no hardihood to affirm. Charges 
of improper influences and conduct in connection with the 
framing of the treaty began to be made as soon as it was 
negotiated. Some of them, doubtless, were irresponsible and 
unfounded, but there is reason for supposing that this was 
far from being true with respect to all of them. The letter 
of Governor Porter is preserved in the Burton Library at 
Detroit, and acknowledgment is due to Mr. Burton for the 
copy we present. The charges against Porter are copied 
from a contemporary broadside preserved among the Martin 
manuscripts in the Wisconsin Historical Library. The two 
documents go hand in hand, for it is evident that the charges 
which Porter sought in his letter to Jackson to refute are 
identical with those stated in the broadside, although the latter 
seems not to contain all the material which had been submitted 
to Jackson and which was referred by him to Porter to answer. 
Readers who may be interested in pursuing the subject 
further may find a discussion of the Chicago Treaty of 1833 
in the present editor's Chicago and the Old Northwestl673- 
1835, 353-66. 

CHARGES PREFERRED AGAINST GEORGE B. PORTER 

Detroit, December 12, 1833. 

To Son. the Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs 
in the U. S. Senate 

The following are the charges and specifications preferred 
against George B. Porter, Governor of Michigan Terri- 
tory, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs: 

x The State Historical Society of Wisconsin has under preparation a volume 
devoted to those Indian treaties which are of more direct interest to Wisconsin. 



The Chicago Treaty of 1833 



289 



Commissioners Chicago Indian 
Treaty, 1833. 



♦Robert A. Forsyth, . $3000' 
*Marcia Kercheval. 
*Alice Hunt, .... 
*Jane Forsyth, . . 
fJno. H. Kinzie,. 
fEUen Wooleott,. 
f Maria Hunter, . . 
f Robert A. Kinzie 
f do. do. do 
♦Robert A. Forsyth, . 



3000 
3000 
3000 
5000 
5000 
5000 
5000 
1216 
1300 



GOV. PORTER, 

COL. OWEN, 

MR. WEATHERFORD, 

♦Robert A. Forsyth,. .$3000) out of the $100,000 appro- 
f James Kinzie, 5000) priated in lieu of the reserva- 
tions — Forsyth, of the U. S. Army, receiving his as Indian 
Chief. 

To be allowed out of $175,000 
appropriated for c 1 a i m s 
against the Indians. The 
names marked *, are the Chil- 
dren of Old Mr. Forsyth ; those 
markedf , are the Children of 
Old Mr. Kinzie. The annexed 
claims are allowed to the heirs 
of Forsyth and Kinzie, for the 
destruction of property by the 
Indians during the late War. 
$42,516J Mr. Forsyth died in 1814, and 
his claims against the Indians were never heard of till now. 
Old Mr. Kinzie, whose claims are placed on the same 
ground, died a subject of the King of Great Britain — he 
fought against this country in the late war — his own family 
only escaping at the massacre of Chicago. The heirs of For- 
syth and Kinzie, are cousins, consequently the above claims are 
all in one family. Major Robert A. Forsyth, a Paymaster in 
the U. S. Army, and the individual above named, was one of 
the committee on claims who allowed the above sum of $42,516 
to himself, his sisters and cousins — one individual only being 
associated with him. The Major, and all of his sisters, were 
born in the province of Upper Canada, and he to this day 
has never been naturalized. He is, however, the especial 
protege of the Secretary of War, and Governor Porter. A 
large amount of just claims were rejected by the Committee, 
to make room for the claims allowed above. 
*Robert A. Forsyth,. $ 300 

innn ^ a ^ *° ^ ne ^ ™- trust for 
„ on - certain Indians, and allowed by 
„ nn the Committee on Claims. 

400 



* 


do. 


do. 


do 


* 


do. 


do. 


do 


* 


do. 


do. 


do 


* 


do. 


do. 


do 


* 


do. 


do. 


do 



290 Documents 

Roberson and Caldwell, the principal Chiefs of the Pota- 
watamie Nation, half whites, and persons whom Robert A. 
Forsyth can control as he pleases, received $10,000 each, as 
a bribe to induce them to influence the other Chiefs of the 
Nation. It is allowed out of the $100,000 appropriated in 
lieu of reservations. Caldwell was the principal Chief at 
the massacre of the River Raisin. A Frenchman called 
Loranger, an Indian trader, was allowed by the committee on 
claims $5000, by assigning his claim to Robert A. Forsyth, 
to whom he was indebted $3000. The goods furnished by 
John H. Kinzie, Aid-de-Camp to Governor Porter, (and 
the individual named in the list of claims,) and Mr. Kerche- 
val, (the husband of Maria Kercheval, named in the list of 
claims,) under former treaties, amounted to $100,000. The 
practice of Gov. Cass has always been to give the furnishing 
of goods to be distributed among the Indians, under a regula- 
tion of a former treaty, to the Indian Agent at the Agency 
where the goods were to be distributed, as a perquisite of his 
office. Had the precedent been followed in the present case, 
the Indian Agents at Green Bay, Chicago and Logansport, 
would have had the distribution of the goods. But Gov. 
Porter assigned, over and over again, as a reason for taking 
this perquisite from the Agents, that he was desirous of sav- 
ing the per centage usually allowed them, and that in lieu 
of this per centage, he had engaged Kinzie and Kercheval 
only as agents to purchase the goods in New- York, and was 
to give them a per diem allowance for this trouble. Yet, in 
express contradiction of this declaration, Governor Porter, 
as can be positively proved, has allowed to Kinzie and Kerche- 
val, 50 per cent, on the whole amount of goods furnished, 
making to them a profit of $50,000. 

Claims $42,516 This amount of public money 

Trust Fund 3,200 is put into the pockets of one 

Profit on Goods . . . 50,000 family in the short space of six 

weeks. Is it not reasonable to 

$95,716 suppose, that Governor Por- 
ter finds a strong reason for confining the patronage of the 
Government to one family, in the fact that he comes in for a 
share of the "plunder?" 



The Chicago Treaty of 1833 291 

In addition to this, Kinzie and Kercheval have received 
from Governor Porter, the contract to furnish the Indians 
with horses, from which they will undoubtedly realize $10,000. 

Kinzie also obtained the exclusive furnishing of the goods 
at the forks of the Wabash, amounting to $40,000, and Ker- 
cheval at Nottawassippie, to the amount of $20,000. 

It is a fact notorious among all who attended the Chicago 
Treaty, that the goods furnished at that treaty, were after- 
wards taken from the Indians in large amounts, and furnished 
at other places. Kinzie himself, used the goods which he 
furnished the Indians as a gag to those who complained of his 
conduct, by making them presents of cloth, &c. 

Lucius Lyon, our Delegate in Congress, is in possession 
of all the foregoing facts, and will vouch for their correct- 
ness; and for their further confirmation, I refer you to Geo. 
W. Ewing, Logansport, Ind.; Alexis Coquillard, South 
Bend, Ind. ; Thos. J. V. Owen, Indian Agent, Chicago; Peter 
Godfroy, Teunis S. (Wendell, Wm. Brewster, Edward 
Brooks, and S. T. Mason, of Detroit; and Robert Stewart, 
Mackinac; and Col. Ewing, Secretary of the Commissioners. 
Most respectfully submitted for your consideration. 

Your Obedient Servt. 

LETTER FROM GEORGE B. PORTER TO PRESIDENT 
ANDREW JACKSON 

Detroit, December 15th, 1833. 
Gen'l Andrew Jackson, 

President of the United States, 
Sir. 

After a fatiguing tour of more than three months, in 
performance of the several public duties assigned to me, I 
arrived here last evening, and have the honor to acknowledge 
the receipt, this morning, of your letter of the 2nd inst, with 
its inclosure. 

Personal respect for you, Sir, restrains the expression of 
feelings, outraged and indignant at having been made the 
object of calumnies, so wantonly malicious and grossly un- 
true, as those contained in the paper laid before you, a copy 
of which you have transmitted. 



292 Documents 

I appreciate, with a proper sense of the obligation, the 
considerate justice which has offered me the means of con- 
fronting my accusers, whenever they shall declare themselves; 
and I thank you for the renewed mark of confidence in my 
integrity, thus indicated. 

The statements contained in this tissue of fabrications, 
shall be met fully and fairly, by my own distinct declarations, 
which, if deemed insufficient, shall be sustained by ample 
testimony, incapable of refutation. And if in vindicating 
my honor from unmerited aspersion, the detail should prove 
tedious, I ask, not doubting it will be granted, your for- 
bearance for a temper, smarting under a sense of undeserved 
injury. 

I may be permitted to premise, that like other public men, 
I too, have my enemies. But for this peculiar and vindictive 
rancour that assails me, I cannot otherwise account, than by 
attributing it to that fruitful source of evil passions — dis- 
appointed expectations. If, in the endeavor faithfully to 
discharge my duties, it has not been in my power to accom- 
plish all the wishes of all, it is but the common lesson which 
experience has taught, to others as well as to myself. The 
invidious feeling which these causes produce, seeks to gratify 
itself, by wresting from me the credit of having effected an 
important Treaty, and would willingly sacrifice to its object 
the best interests of the country. 

To proceed then to the matters alleged against me. 

The first proposition contains both an indirect and a direct 
falsehood. First, in stating, for the purpose of disparage- 
ment, that but three million acres of land are purchased, 
when in point of fact, there are nearly six millions; And 
Secondly, that the title not being in the Indians, "there 'was 
no necessity for a Treaty at all." The declaration itself is 
utterly without foundation; but waiving this, I remark, that 
the province of determining this "necessity" rested not with 
the Commissioners but with the President. In the present 
instance, it is well known that a cession of country along the 
Western shore of Lake Michigan was deemed of so much 
importance, that an appropriation for holding the Treaty 
was made at the last Session of Congress — Who could be 
ignorant of this fact? And yet, those who profess to under- 



The Chicago Treaty of 1833 293 

stand this matter better than the President and Congress, 
and the Secretary of War, whose knowledge of these Indians 
and this region of country is minutely particular, assert that 
the land did not belong to the Indians ceding it, and that 
"a little investigation will satisfy any reasonable man that 
there was no necessity for a Treaty at all" 

It is stated also that to indulge my favoritism its objects 
always found it an easy matter to "persuade his Excellency 
to get up a Treaty." The mendacity of the writer is equalled 
only by his ignorance. The power which assumes the order- 
ing of Treaties does not lie with me. But without this, the 
charge is unfortunate in its application, for I appeal to my 
letters on file in the Department to show whether this appoint- 
ment was eagerly coveted, or reluctantly accepted, by me. 
And the instructions of the Department under which the 
Commissioners acted, (an extract from which for your con- 
venience I enclose), will show, that the Secretary was not 
only aware of the importance of the duty but directed us 
"not to abandon it till all hopes of success were exhausted." 
That we succeeded in effecting all that was required of us 
and, in the opinion of every good and intelligent citizen with 
whom I have conversed, made a valuable Treaty, advan- 
tageous alike to the Government and the Indians, of impor- 
tance to the surrounding country, and this in the most public 
and honorable manner, I had never heard doubted, until my 
return to this place. Since then, I have heard of boasts that 
I should be destroyed. And accordingly, during my absence, 
falsehood and aspersion were busy with my character and 
conduct. To destroy the confidence you repose in me, no 
means have been scruppled at. — First, it is boldly proclaimed 
that I cannot effect a Treaty — then it is denied that any credit 
is due to me, for having accomplished it: — and now, I am 
held exclusively answerable for the whole Treaty, and every 
circumstance attending it. 

To my Co-Commissioners, and the gentleman selected 
by them as the Secretary of the Commission, who are all 
highly respectable Citizens of Illinois: — to the full Journal 
of all our proceedings: — to the many distinguished citizens 
of Illinois, Indiana and the surrounding country: — to every 
honourable man who was present during the Council, among 



294 Documents 

whom are Mr. Daniel Jackson of New York — and Mr. 
Robert Stewart, the Agent of the American Fur Company 
at Michilimackinac, both of whom I understand to be now 
in Washington, and whose characters are known to you, I 
appeal with confidence, for a refutation of these slanders. 2 

The suggestion that extra allowances have been made to 
me for extra services is not disputed, being an usage of the 
Government from its first institution. The labors I have 
performed and the fatigues I have undergone, in this tour, 
over roads almost impassable, and during a continuation of 
the most unfavorable weather, teach me to believe that I have 
honestly earned all that the Rule of Department will allow : 
But the vile and mean insinuation appended, and which none 
but an utterly corrupt heart could generate, that I have sold 
my patronage, does not require an answer. 

In reference to the claims or accounts contained in the 
Schedules annexed to the Treaty, to some of which particular 
exception has been taken, I proceed, in explanation, to state : 
That in furtherance of the policy of the Government to 
remove these Indians West of the Mississippi, the Commis- 
sioners refused to grant Reservations of land, although these 
were greatly preferred, but agreed, in lieu thereof, that a 
part of the consideration money should be apportioned among 
such individuals as the Indians chose to designate. In like 
manner another part of the consideration money, the amount 
of which was fixed, was to be applied in satisfaction of claims, 
which, on examination, should be admitted by the Indians 
to be justly divided. Who, so well as they, could tell whether 
they were indebted to an individual or not? But to protect 
themselves against unfounded claims, many of which were 
presented, the Chiefs and head men employed a gentleman 
of high standing and respectability, as their assistant, and 
asked permission that he might be present at the investiga- 
tion of the claims. This gentleman was Richard E. Hamil- 

2 Daniel Jackson belonged to the firm of Suydam, Jackson and Company of 
New York, large importers of goods for the fur trade. Robert Stuart was manager 
at Mackinac for the American Fur Company. Porter's appeal to these men is 
not entirely convincing, since they were important representatives of the fur 
trade merchants who, as a class, profited most largely by the gratuities and al- 
lowances concerning which complaint was being made. 



The Chicago Treaty of 1833 295 

ton, Esq., 3 of Chicago — in whom these Indians reposed un- 
bounded confidence — They farther requested that Major 
Forsyth, for whom they professed a like regard, and who 
was familiarly known to them, should aid their friend Col. 
Hamilton in the duty confided to him. Impressed, as all 
were, with the character of the two gentlemen for integrity 
and honor, so reasonable a request was not denied. — In the 
presence of the Chiefs and those Assistants, the commis- 
sioners proceeded in the examination of the numerous claims, 
the decision on each claim being made by the commissioners ; 
by all of them; and by them alone; and the amount allowed on 
each claim was then and there written down by the Secretary. 
So far as relates to the allowances, (so principal an object of 
animadversion), granted to the heirs of Forsyth & Kinzie, 
I aver, without fear of contradiction, that neither Major 
Forsyth nor any of the persons interested, had anything to 
do with the decision upon them; nor, to the best of my knowl- 
edge and recollection, were any of them present, when they 
were acted on — The Chiefs and Head men insisted upon 
these allowances, and the Commissioners, on hearing the 
representation of the Indians unanimously acquiesced in their 
justice. These with the several other claims allowed form, 
as I have stated, a part of the consideration money of the 
Treaty, and if it were possible, which it certainly is not, to 
preserve the Treaty, striking these out, the Individuals named 
would, I have not a doubt, suffer neither detriment nor loss — 
The whole Potawatamie Nation would, I am persuaded, 
restore the allowances at the Annuity table. 

The name of Robert A. Forsyth, which occurs three times 
in the first statement of allowances, belongs to two different 
individuals, one of whom is a Merchant in Ohio, 4 and the 
other, the Paymaster. The extensive trade in which the 
Merchant of this name in Ohio is engaged will appear on 
reference to several Treaties lately made in Ohio and Indiana. 

3 Richard J. Hamilton came to Chicago in 1831 as first clerk of the circuit 
court of Cook County. During the next few years he held a large number of local 
offices of a legal or fiscal nature, much of the time holding several at the same 
time. He had much to do with the establishment and early administration of 
the public school system of Chicago. 

4 Robert A. Forsythe of Ohio was an early trader at Maumee City in Lucas 
County. He was probably the son of James Forsythe, an early merchant and 
tavern keeper of Detroit. He was one of the founders of the lower Maumee 
Valley. 



296 Documents 

Nor is this confusion of names mentioned in defence or ex- 
tenuation — I am ignorant of any just ground of exception 
to my conduct, in the whole history of this transaction, but I 
note it, merely, as one of a series of deceptive statements. 
The jeering comment follows that "Major Forsyth of the 
United States Army, received his $3000 as an Indian Chief." 
These falsehoods are almost too gross for refutation. The 
Treaty states the allowance. Does it say he received it as an 
Indian Chief? The Indians stated, themselves, and without 
any prompting on the part of the Commissioners, that there 
was due to Robert A. Forsyth a reservation, which had long 
since been promised by their nation, and which they had 
desired Governor Cass and Judge Sibley, Commissioners at 
the Treaty of Chicago in 1821, to grant him. This request 
has been reiterated at the Treaty of St. Joseph, in 1828, as 
can be attested by Gov. Cass and Mr. Menard, the Com- 
missioners ; — the land being then, and ever since, set apart for 
him by the Indians. It was not secured to him in either of 
these Treaties, because not included within the bounds of the 
lands then ceded. The Commissioners, in this, as in every 
other instance when it could be done compatibly with the 
policy of the Government, and with justice to Individuals 
and the Indians, conceived it their duty to obey their wishes. 5 
The selection of persons to examine and adjust claims, as 
well for reservations as on account of losses, was made, not 
by the Commissioners, but by the Indians themselves. The 
claims were all subjected to the supervision of the Indians, 
or persons they themselves appointed to represent them; — 
It is notorious that they expressed at all times the most un- 
hesitating confidence in their Indian Agent, Col. Owen, who 
was one of the Commissioners: — in Col. Hamilton, whom 
they specially deputed to act for them, and in the two persons 

5 The pronouncement of Meriwether Lewis to President Jefferson on this 
point, given in a case which involved the same principle as the one here involved, 
is not without interest in this connection: "I am confident that, if the United 
States should never confirm the lands to the present claimants, it will not prove 
a source of disquiet on the part of the Osages; and should they be ever coun- 
tenanced or receive confirmation, on the ground of their being Indian donations, 
it would introduce a policy of the most ruinous tendency to the interests of the 
United States; in effect it would be, the Government corrupting its own agents; for, 
I will venture to assert, that, if the Indians are permitted to bestow lands on such 
individuals as they may think proper, the meanest interpreter in our employment 
will soon acquire a princely fortune at the expense of the United States." Ameri- 
can State Papers, Indian Afairs, I, 767. 



The Chicago Treaty of 1833 297 

scoffed at as "half whites" Caldwell and Robinson. 6 With 
these was associated also Joseph, an influential Chief, who 
was present in every business transaction — Caldwell and 
Robinson have been nurtured with, and raised by, these 
Indians, one from childhood, and the other from his birth; 
they are identified with this tribe, and are Indians in character, 
in manners, in mode of life, in sentiments and conduct, and 
as such are regarded by them. By reference to the Treaty of 
1829, it will be seen that they were then acknowledged as 
the principal men, and the Treaty was made with them. 
Whom could they trust if not these? After the assent to sell 
had been obtained, and the general preliminaries had been 
agreed upon, the Indians in open council, as will appear by 
the Journal, advised the Commissioners that they had con- 
fided the care of their interests, and all the details of the 
Treaty, to these, their principal chiefs; and the Commis- 
sioners, as I considered then and now, properly acquiesced. 
When these details were completed, and the Treaty reduced 
to form, it was read by Col. Hamilton in private Council to 
the Indians, and was again read before them in public Council, 
by myself, and unanimously approved. It is represented that 
old Mr. Forsyth never had $500 in property in his life. This 
can be disproved by a hundred witnesses, conversant with 
the fact, that he was extensively engaged in the Indian trade. 
So, too, the assertion that "old Mr. Kinzie died a subject of 
the King of Great Britain", can be falsified by the records 
of the War Department, showing him to have been for many 
years after the war a Sub Agent of the Government. Equally 
and unqualifiedly false also is the declaration that "he fought 
against his country in the late war," or "led the Indians in 
the Massacre of Chicago." On the contrary he was a zealous 
and efficient partizan of the American party, and as the 
books of the American Fur Company will show, was their 
agent at his death. 

Nor is the declaration that Major Robert A. Forsyth, a 
Paymaster in the United States Army, has never been 
"naturalized," by which it is intended to be conveyed that he 
is an alien, less destitute of truth. The Father of Major 

6 Billy Caldwell and Alexander Robinson, halfbreeds, who were influential with 
the Potawatomi and the Ottawa. 



298 Documents 

Forsyth was an American Citizen, (born in Detroit), and 
has always resided in this country, and the accidental cir- 
cumstance that Major F's mother was, at his birth, among 
her friends across the narrow line which divided the Terri- 
tory from Canada, did not, nor could, divest him of his na- 
tional character. The law of nations recognize no such 
principle: Accordingly, the vote of Major Forsyth has never 
been challenged at an election; he bore a Commission, as a 
Cadet of the Military Academy, and subsequently as an 
officer in the Army of the United States. He has been 
elected to the Legislature of the Territory, and executed the 
trust; where the objection stated, if valid, would have been 
fatal. Finally, he has received from the President of United 
States, a Commission as Pay Master in the United States 
Army. Equally deceptive with every other feature of this 
malignant attempt to destroy me, is the perverse meaning 
significantly assigned to the trusts, confided to Major Forsyth 
and Mr. Kinzie. They are real, substantial trusts, created 
under circumstances of perfect notoreity at Chicago, and 
challenge scrutiny. In these, as in every other case, the ap- 
pointment was made without consulting the individual, and 
in some instances against his inclination. 

Major Forsyth is charged also with having bribed Cald- 
well and Robinson with $10,000 each, to influence the Chiefs 
of their Nation. This varies in nothing from the complexion 
of the other statements. It is a pure fiction. Major Forsyth 
had nothing to do with the matter. The Individuals cited, 
received, by the express direction of their people, the sum 
of $10,000 each, as the two head men of the nation, to whom 
the entire direction of their affairs had long before been com- 
mitted, — on whom they not infrequently lived, and to whom 
they looked for relief in their necessities. A reference to the 
Journal will establish the fact of their appointment, because 
it is so declared in the speeches of the Indians, delivered in 
public Council. If the Indians, in open Council, declare what 
shall be done with a part of the consideration money of their 
land and, according to their custom, insist that their principal 
Chiefs shall be provided for out of it, why should it be objected 
to? As well might it be objected that $5000, a part of this 
consideration money, is appropriated at the request of the 



The Chicago Treaty of 1833 299 

Chiefs to the students of the Choctaw Academy, of which 
sum the Honorable Richard M. Johnson is constituted 
Trustee. 7 

It is said also among other representations that a French- 
man called Loranger, 8 who never had goods in the Indian 
country, was allowed by the Commissioners on Claims $5000 
by assigning his claim to Robt. A. Forsyth to whom he was 
indebted $3,000. 

It is with difficulty Sir, that I can sufficiently command 
my feelings, or control the disgust with which I am affected, 
at these monstrous falsehoods, for while I would speak of 
them in the manner they merit, I would not forget the 
respect due to you. But in the above proposition of three 
lines, are stated three direct, unqualified untruths: — First — 
That he had had no goods in the Indian Country which 
could be refuted by a common clamor. Second — That he 
assigned his claim to Major Forsyth; and Third — That he 
was indebted to him for $3000. — I have already named Mr. 
Daniel Jackson, of the firm of Suydam, Jackson & Co., of 
N. Y. who are so extensively engaged in the sale of Indian 
Goods — Of him I would ask how long he has known Mr. 
Loranger to be in the Indian trade, and what has been the 
amount of goods sold yearly to Mr. Loranger — The claim 
of Mr. Loranger was much greater than the allowance — The 
balance is lost to him, because not presented at the Treaty 
in Indiana in October 1832, being due by that Band or Party 
of Potawatamie Indians — He has been in the Indian trade 
since 1804, and lives within sight of this town. 

I had intended to close this communication here; but I 
cannot remain silent, while slanders are heaped upon the 
gallant dead. The characters and memories of John Kinzie 
and Robert A. Forsyth deceased have been wickedly as- 
sailed — and by whom? Their descendants would like to 
know — For the part each one of these individuals took, and 
the important services rendered by them to the American 
Government in the late war, reference is made to many of the 

'Unfortunately for Porter's justification in this particular instance, the in- 
vestigations of students have revealed much that is of questionable propriety 
in connection with Johnson's conduct of his Indian school. 

8 Joseph Loranger was a fur trader in the River Raisin and before the War 
of 1812 had a store in partnership with Lafontaine. In 1817 he platted the town 
of Monroe, Michigan, of which place his descendants were prominent citizens. 



300 Documents 

first men in the country; Among those immediately around 
you is the Secretary of War, Major General Macomb, 
General Gratiot and Colonel Croghan. — Having considered 
it my duty to make inquiry I have obtained the following 
information and believing it to be strictly correct, I give it to 
you as such. — 

Memoir of the late John Kinzie of Michigan. 9 
John Kinzie died at Chicago in 1828, aged 64 years; he 
came to this part of the Country when a boy and was in the 
Indian trade during the greater part of his life. He went 
to Chicago, Illinois, in 1803 — was Sutler for the United 
States troops for several years, and was the first to take from 
Detroit the news of the declaration of War, to Captain Heald 
then commanding the Fort at that place. 10 On the eve of 
the massacre at Chicago, Mr. Kinzie with two friendly Indian 
Chiefs, called at Captain Heald's quarters, and advised him 
not to abandon the Fort as was contemplated the next morn- 
ing, but to remain as long as possible; for if he left it he 
would certainly be attacked by the Indians, who had collected 
to the number of five hundred warriors. — Captain Heald 
persisted in going — said he had orders from Genl. Hull to 
evacuate the post, and to proceed with his command to Fort 
Wayne. Captain Heald then requested Mr. Kinzie to ac- 
company him, which he did, leaving his family with but three 
men to protect them on their way to St. Joseph (distant by 
water 100 miles) . Mr. Kinzie's family were taken prisoners 
a few hours previous to the massacre. Mr. Kinzie was in the 
battle, as well as one daughter, the wife of Lieutenant Helm, 
whose horse was shot from under her. She received a wound 
in the foot from the ball which killed her horse. Mr. Kinzie 
was taken prisoner with the surviving command of Captain 
Heald. Having been long a principal trader among these 
Indians, and much esteemed by them, he was next day by a 
Council held by the Chiefs, liberated, and his family restored 
to him. 

"The correctness of this narrative is not above question in all respects. In 
general it may be noted" that Porter was bent on presenting a favorable account 
of Kinzie's career, and that he evidently drew his information from friendly 
sources. Nevertheless, it constitutes an interesting addition to our sources of 
information concerning Kinzie, the reputed "father of Chicago." 

w Kinzie removed to Chicago in 1804, the year following the establishment of 
Fort Dearborn. The statement that he brought the news of war to Fort Dearborn 
is incorrect. 



The Chicago Treaty of 1833 301 

He then prevailed upon the Indians to surrender to him 
Captain Heald and family, whom he furnished with con- 
veyance to Mackinac. 11 Mrs. Heald now residing at St. 
Louis can prove all these facts. — Having lost all his property 
to a very considerable amount (it being a wholesale establish- 
ment) consisting of merchandise, furs and peltries and horses, 
etc., taken by the Indians, he went to Detroit. His influence 
while there was directed toward affecting a change in the 
views and feelings of the Indians at that time unfriendly to 
the American Government. This influence with the dif- 
ferent tribes of Indians was very considerable and as a proof 
of it General Proctor commanding the British force in 
Detroit and its vicinity sent for Mr. Kinzie, and when he 
went to see him General Proctor immediately confined him 
as he said "for daring to prejudice the Indians against his 
Majesty's subjects or forces, and would send him where he 
would not see an Indian in a hurry." — Mr. Kinzie was twice 
rescued by several Indian Chiefs, and once in the presence 
of General Proctor himself. Mr. Kinzie was again taken by 
General Proctor and closely confined in irons at Fort Maiden 
(as also a Mr. Jean Bte Chandonnois who subsequently made 
his escape and is now living in the St. Joseph country) and 
kept there for months. He was finally, to conceal him from 
the Indians, sent off in the night in irons — was treated in the 
most brutal manner by his guard, and was shipped for Eng- 
land for trial — Fortunately for him, the Ship lost her rudder, 
and she was obliged to put into Halifax, having on board a 
great number of American prisoners. — He thence made his 
escape in a crowd of paroled prisoners, and returned to his 
family in Detroit, after it had been taken possession of by 
General Harrison's Army. Mr. Kinzie had not been long at 
home before he was called upon by Colonel Croghan, and ac- 
companed the expedition under him to Mackinac, and was 
Captain of a party of Militia at the battle fought on the 
Island of Dousman's Farm. Mr. Kinzie, after the close of 
the War, held the appointment of Sub Indian Agent for 
many years at Chicago. — He was well known to Generals 
Harrison, Macomb, Gratiot, and Col. Croghan. — During the 

"This statement is in contradiction with our other sources of information 
on the subject. 



302 Documents 

time of hostilities, his energies were always devoted to the 
American cause. 

Robert A. Forsyth was long and extensively engaged in 
the Indian trade. — His residence was at Detroit and his trad- 
ing establishments in different places in the Indian Country. 
He not only enjoyed the confidence of the Indians but that of 
his fellow citizens. Every honest man then resident of 
Detroit can attest to his bravery during the late War. Such 
had been his conduct that, on the surrender of Detroit, he 
was marked as a fit subject for British vengeance. — He was 
torn from his family and with his only son, the present Major 
Forsyth, then a boy of about fourteen years, put on board the 
British vessels and carried off; his several infant daughters 
being left without a protector ; their father's house occupied 
by the British troops; and all his valuable property pillaged 
and carried away. Being landed on parol at Erie, Penn., 
the father and son soon afterwards found their way to General 
Harrison's Army. This gentleman can attest to the many 
valuable services which they rendered. The father died in the 
year 1813, in the service of his country, without having been 
permitted to return to his family: — Being early enured to the 
hardships of trading among the Indians and being naturally 
active and brave the son frequently performed duties, from 
undertaking which others were deterred by their severity and 
danger. For the history of the son, the hardships he en- 
countered, his important services before, and his gallant con- 
duct during the war, I refer you to the Honourable Lewis 
Cass, who is familiar with its details. 

I have now, Sir, I believe, with one exception, gone over 
the whole ground. That exception relates to the furnishing 
of goods by Mr. Kercheval and Mr. Kinzie, and as it has 
no connection with the Treaty of Chicago, being in fulfil- 
ment of the stipulations of previous treaties, and in the 
making of which I had no agency, and concerns myself ex- 
clusively, I shall make it the subject of a communication to 
accompany this. 

The question so insidiously put, of whether "the Gover- 
nor does not secretly reap a share of the plunder" I cannot, 
consistently with the respect due myself, answer. — Whether 
I have forgotten principle and character, and everything 



The Chicago Treaty of 188S 303 

dear to an honourable mind, to defile my hands with the 
contamination of a bribe, is a question others must settle 
for me. — 

In conclusion, I have only to add that, to the issue I have 
here made up, I commit without shadow of fear of the result, 
what is dearer to me than all else — my reputation and good 
name. 

[G. B. POETEE.]